Turning light-sockets into LCD projectors

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/14/turning-light-sockets-into-lcd.html

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Wow. I have 1,001 uses for this, and none of them require network connectivity.

Guess I’ll wait.


My D&D map on the dining room table. One day I’d like to see this happen (with such a device) for under $100.


That’s a neat idea…
But how expensive are pico projectors these days? $100? $150? Pretty sure I could rig something with one of those and come out a few hundred dollars ahead.


This seems like one of those cases where ‘cute’ devoured ‘useful’.

Is it a technological marvel that you can cram a 854 x 480 projector, LED light source, AC-DC converter, and unspecified Android-running SoC into something reasonably close to the size of a lightbulb? Indeed it is. Most marvelous
However, it’s the same technological marvel that every other vendor in the universe who Texas Instruments is willing to sell DLP2010 MEMs mirror modules to also possesses.

And a quick look at your preferred widget purveyor shows that these show up a lot. The low-power TI parts currently available range from 854x480 to 1920x1080, with 1280x720 and 1280x800 in between. I’m not sure if the other resolutions you sometimes see are older parts; or based on other suppliers; but the punchline in any case is that LED-based projectors of lousy resolution are no longer particularly exotic or expensive.

Neither, obviously, is “Android computer, 1.3GHz dual core processor”(details unspecified; firmware updates…less than entirely likely) a terribly expensive, exotic, or even necessarily desirable option.

Unfortunately, in the quest for minimalist smallitude; that little Android device; and its pet app, appears to be your only video input source. Definitely no hardwired options; and details are a bit muddy on exactly what you can and can’t do over the network link(‘miricast’ doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere; though they suggest the totally elegant hack of running a VNC client on the embedded android box and mirroring your PC that way…)

So, while the industrial design is indeed rather pleasing, it sure looks like your $500 gets you a projector that would normally command ~$150 if it were in an ugly rectangular box; but without any normal video inputs; and a low end Android device permanently grafted on.

I don’t think that this is progress, for any reasonably sane definition of the term.

The TL;DR: This is a ‘smart TV’; but without any standard video inputs. All the usual considerations about why smart TVs are a dubious plan apply; plus you can’t even use it as a dumb display device.


Older conference room projectors show up in the dumpsters a lot, but often the lamps for them cost more than a pico projector of equal capability and reliability, so I end up recycling a lot of them once I’ve looked up the bulb.


I’ve never found a good excuse to justify keeping them; but projector optics packages are often full of extremely pleasing components. Lenses and prisms and filters and whatnot.

This is especially the case with the ones that were originally Very Expensive. The actual performance is often pitiful, given that LCDs and DLPs have improved markedly over the years; but glass hasn’t changed as fast; and last decade’s expensive optics package still feels pretty luxurious.

Now I just need a use for it.


Excellent design, not a great projector though. The info I found said it was only 100 lumens. I’ve got a few flashlights brighter than that. I’ve already got a 3000 lumen projector, and it’s great being able to use it with the shades open at home. IMO, most people wouldn’t enjoy a regular projector less than 2000 lumens.


100 lumens is a pittance.
The lightbulb that thing is supposed to replace throws more light than that (by a lot, likely).


Well, it’s evident that Cory Doctorow will never, ever cease using needless and incorrect hyphens: “light-sockets.” But hey, he’s “published several books.”

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(because security is a process and not a product)

Yes, not unlike “network administration”, that pesky role a person assumes when they “own” and use computer network technologies. If only people could be admins without actually knowing anything…

On the upside, the Third Grade Play is now Maximum Overdrive (but with these 20W devices conspiring to mix messages, distract from the Amazon drone minifridge and trip hazard of the moment, and turn baskfiets and bike computers to battle royale.)

Original Minimum Viable Product had sheath on cable that oozed fibrous slime when touched in search of lightswitch. ‘Nudges,’ you know.


I have a once-high-end 350 lumen LED projector (mainly for travel) and a high-def halogen projector at 2500 ANSI lumens; while the latter is the one we use most often at home, the former is surprisingly bright and completely usable even with some light in the room. I think that lumens alone do not tell the whole story.

You can often get bare bulbs (not lamp modules) for a reasonable price, but many projectors have lots of other delicate expensive parts, and I don’t think moving parts like color wheels (for example) will enjoy sitting out in a dumpster.

What I don’t get about this bulb idea (besides everything everyone else has mentioned): if you are meant to screw it into a random lamp, not a specialty projector case, how do you fix the orientation? I would hate to replace the bulb in our Empieza Colgao lamp and then just have the image at any old angle on the wall.

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